An incredible thing happened this weekend on the golf course. I had the honor of playing a round of golf with a truly special person. You see, this guy had no hands. He had been born without any. All he had to work with was the heel of his hand – no thumbs, no fingers.
He teed off first. I watched as he tossed his tee and ball in front of him on the first tee. Kneeling down, he gripped the tee between the heels of his hands and struggled to push the wooden peg into the ground. Gripping the ball in the same fashion, he placed it on his tee. He stood up, took a normal stance over the ball and carefully positioned the grip of his club into his left forearm and pressed his right hand heel low on the grip so to squeeze the handle tight against his left arm.
Asking me and the others in our foursome to move out from beside him (which is the traditional place to stand when one is teeing off) for fear of conking us in the head should the golf club slip his grasp on his backswing, he swung the club and SMACK! A straight shot about 180 yards down the middle of the fairway – a pretty good shot by almost any standard.
To watch this man play a round of golf was an awesome sight. Surely, not every shot was as pure as his first drive. Yes, he had trouble getting some shots up in the air particularly from difficult lies. His short game (which often requires a delicate touch) was not the best part of his play. But, his putting was brilliant, and, most importantly, his determination and attitude were exceptional.
After a hole or two, I could see he was just having a good time out there on the course. He wasn’t trying to break any records. He didn’t take the game too seriously, either. He’d laugh when he hit a poor shot. He’d laugh when I would hit a poor shot, too. Not exactly proper etiquette on a golf course, but, he got me to laugh at my mistakes, as well – quite a trick for someone with no hands.
While my score was nothing to write home about that day, I will never forget this round of golf. It served to remind me about just how blessed I am. I have my hands! I can grip a golf club with them. I can do a lot more with them, too. I realized that I don’t have it that bad, even when I use those hands to hit an errant golf shot.
The next time that I’m having a bad day, I am going to recall the golfer with no hands. I hope you do, too. His spirit and grit serves as a good example for us all.